The Boys’ Tennis Team’s Midseason Reflection

When in match mode, the Malden High Boys Tennis Team enjoys setting fire to their home court. Despite having suffered three losses on their current record, the boys always found a rebounding strategy--resulting in an overturning eight victories and satisfactory midseason.

Freshman Henry Dzuong with “that winning feeling." Courtesy of @maldentennis on Instagram.

As the afternoon sun lights Amerige Park in Malden--a bright gesture from spring--the team always enters the court in high spirits. Throughout the season, they faced such challenges as missing key players, postponing matches due to the erratic weather conditions and, unquestionably, fully recovering from a pandemic. But these felt negligible when preparing for an impending match.

As freshman player Henry Dzuong championed, “It’s important to move on from past mistakes to keep our head in the game and also enjoy it. So have fun, work hard…and that’s game.”

As freshman player Henry Dzuong championed, “It’s important to move on from past mistakes to keep our head in the game and also enjoy it. So have fun, work hard…and that’s game.”

Additionally, senior captain Nam Doan highlighted the newly recruited players for “showing good leadership skills,” and warmed to the sight of them “acting as each other’s coaches in times of need.” Hardworking from the moment they first entered the court to the satisfying clink of their tennis rackets after a victorious match, captain Doan felt--simply put--proud of the crew.

Senior player uses the brief intermission before the ball bounces to position for a backhand shot. Photo by Nathan Dean.
Junior Wilson Jiang with a little spring in his step as he performs a forehand stroke. Photo by Nathan Dean

And through both the captains’ leadership and personal commitment to the sport keeping this energy pumping in their veins, the boys have been quickly climbing the rankings--a trend that could lead to qualification and success in prestigious tournaments. In fact, when discussing goals for the season, one resonant among all the players is winning…

“The GBL,” Dzuong said.

“I’d definitely say it’s the GBL,” Huang agreed.

“Winning the GBL tournament is on top for every season,” Doan chimed in.

“We have our eyes on the GBL title,” confirmed Nemalapuri. “We have a couple more games this year, and I think we can finish strong.”

Despite their outstanding achievements paving the way for a spot in the state-renowned athletic conference, the junior captain embraced areas of weakness within the team: “That is the beauty of sport; you always look to get better. With tennis being such a technical and mentally-tough game, there’s always room for improvement.” Thus, Nemalapuri felt impassioned with “using [his] experience and tools to help all the players on the team excel,” especially for facing more notoriously competitive tennis teams.

“But the past is the past,” Huang emphasized. “So when we lose, we don’t lose anything; we just gain an important learning experience.”

Sophomore Steven Luong and junior Wilson Jiang with their heads in the game. Photo by Nathan Dean.
Senior player with laser focus as he makes a varsity-level forehand stroke. Photo by Nathan Dean.

On a higher note, the team found that their strengths outweigh their weaknesses. Huang found himself making swift progress throughout his first year--“a goal I would’ve expected to achieve in the next year or so.” He has been already practicing some pro-level tennis strokes and “refining [his] playing technique a lot.”

He concluded that “with this sort of dedication, I could see myself committing to the tennis team for the rest of high school.”

In addition, Dzuong has progressed in building his utmost confidence and skill on the court. Upon joining the team, “I didn’t even know how to hit the ball. Joining was more for fun. But in this experience, I’ve learned something important: from every loss, there’s the chance to grow better. We need to make sure to keep telling ourselves that every time.”

Beyond improving technical skills, Dzuong wished to establish familiarity with his fellow teammates. He expressed how he “wanted to be able to connect with them both as players and as friends to hang out with,” because after all, that feeling of brotherhood happens to define the “team” in “Boys Tennis Team.”

But although the tennis season spares a few more weeks for matches, team bonding and improvement, it is almost time for the boys to set down their rackets.

Regardless, a final word from Nemalapuri sets the team in stone for furthering a successful high school legacy: “I have been on the team for six years now, and every year, I always have a fun time. We have a great crew this season with new freshmen who have much time to improve. With them, we can't wait to get a chance at winning the [GBL] title. I am very happy with our record as well as seeing the team have fun and enjoy their time on and off the court.”

Sophomore Thomas Ghile returning the ball to his opponent with finesse. Photo by Nathan Dean.
Junior Palgon Tsering opens doubles with a flat serve while sophomore Thomas Ghile transitions into match mode. Photo by Nathan Dean.

What a gratifying midseason for the boys. Keep pace with the Malden Boys Tennis Team’s match scores and additional updates on Instagram @maldentennis.

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